New Conditional Clearance Amendments to the SAVE Fingerprinting Requirements
|Date:||August 14, 2001|
District Superintendents of Schools, Superintendents of Public Schools, and Charter School Administrators
|From:||Gerald W. Patton, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Higher Education
James A. Kadamus, Deputy Commissioner of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education
|Subject:||New Conditional Clearance Amendments to the SAVE Fingerprinting Requirements|
On August 10, 2001, Governor Pataki signed Chapter 147 of the Laws of 2001, which amends the current fingerprinting requirements of the SAVE legislation (Chapter 180 of the Laws of 2000) effective July 1, 2001. These new amendments allow school districts, charter schools, and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to fill vacancies on short notice while awaiting a full criminal background clearance from the Department.
Upon the recommendation of the superintendent, the trustees may make a Conditional Appointment of a prospective employee under the following conditions:
1) A request for a conditional clearance along with the individual's fingerprints must be forwarded to the Department;
2) A signed statement must be obtained from the prospective employee indicating whether, to the best of his or her knowledge, he or she has a pending criminal charge or criminal conviction in any jurisdiction outside the State;
3) The school must have developed a policy for the safety of the children who have contact with an employee holding a conditional appointment; and
4) The prospective employee's conditional appointment cannot begin until the Department has issued its conditional clearance which will be based upon the results of the State-reported criminal history record as indicated by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
The amendments also allow a school to make an Emergency Conditional Appointment when an unforeseen emergency vacancy occurred. The same conditions are required as for conditional appointments, except that the emergency conditional appointment may commence prior to notification from the Department on conditional clearance. It terminates 20 business days from the date of such appointment or when the school is notified as to the status of the conditional clearance. The law defines an unforeseen emergency vacancy as:
1) A vacancy that occurred less than 10 business days before the start of any school session without sufficient notice to allow for clearance for employment or conditional clearance;
2) When no other qualified person is available to fill the vacancy temporarily; and
3) When emergency conditional appointment is necessary to maintain services which the school is legally required to provide, or services necessary to protect the health, education or safety of students or staff.
Within 15 business days of receipt of the prospective employee's fingerprints, the Department is required to promptly notify the individual and the school that the employee is either conditionally cleared for employment based upon the DCJS report, or that additional time is needed to make that determination.
The new statutory provisions are effective immediately. The Department is drafting regulations to update the SAVE fingerprinting mandates. It is expected that the Board of Regents will act on these regulations as an emergency adoption at its September meeting.
Information and updates are available from the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) through the Department's Office of Teaching web site at www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert. In addition, OSPRA will respond to individual questions and concerns via e-mail at OSPRA@mail.nysed.gov.